religion final paper

religion final paper - Altruism and Rescue during the...

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Altruism and Rescue during the Holocaust During the years of the Holocaust approximately 6 million Jews lost their lives. Although many may only remember the atrocities that occurred during this time, it should be noted and recognized that through the courage of a remarkable few, Jewish lives were saved. In this paper I will discuss and acknowledge those few groups who acted on their human instincts and explore some factors that would have led them to do so. “The one who rescues one single human being is regarded as saving all humanity”-Talmudic saying One of the most famous and remarkable resistances to the Nazi’s invasion occurred in Denmark during the 1940’s. When the Danish community heard word of the Jewish deportation they responded with great haste and resilience, protesting their undying loyalty to their fellow Danes. Holding true with their promise, Denmark maintained its position as a “Model Protectorate” which meant that they could preserve their own government, foreign office and armed forces (Ahrahamsen 138). This mutual agreement between the Danes and the Germans lasted for approximately three years until the Nazi party began to react violently and started to employ a curfew and a serious ultimatum. This ultimatum stated that the Danes would both
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stop their resistance and allow the Jews to be deported peacefully or else the Germans would declare martial law and impose the death penalty to those who were found to be aiding any member of the Jewish population. The Danes once again refused this ultimatum claiming that their traditions do not allow for anti Semitism and they would not allow it to change now. Once the legal Danish government was forced to resign in 1943 another illegal and underground form of government emerged called the Freedom Council. This council soon became the main form of government and was mainly responsible for the Nazi resistance and the rescue of the Jews. One of the most courageous acts during the reign of the Freedom Council was on October 7 th , 1943 when a hundred and forty Jews who had been in hiding were successfully transported to Sweden. These Jews were brought to Bispebjerg Hospital and given refuge in the psychiatric ward and from there were transported in ambulances, sanitation trucks or fire trucks to the waiting fishing boats that would transport them over to Sweden. The level of altruism was so high in Denmark then even upon return to Denmark many Jews found that their fellow countrymen had gone so far as to maintain their homes, gardens and businesses for when they would return. Statistics show that about 98 percent of Danish Jews were rescued during this time, about 7,200 out of 7,700 (Ahrahamsen 139). This is truly a remarkable number
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course REL 232 taught by Professor Kraus during the Spring '07 term at Wheaton MA.

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religion final paper - Altruism and Rescue during the...

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